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Joint effort beats fire near Newhall pass

Firefighters contain blaze before wind strengthens it

Posted: October 5, 2013 8:12 p.m.
Updated: October 5, 2013 8:12 p.m.

Firefighters work to control a 15-acre brush fire along the northbound Interstate 5 freeway on Saturday at The Old Road. The fire was contained near 3 p.m.


Saturday’s Santa Ana winds that whipped through the Santa Clarita Valley did not appear to cause as much damage as Friday, but officials were kept plenty busy after a brush fire broke out in the Newhall Pass.

Firefighters from multiple agencies were able to quickly jump on and contain that fire, holding it to about 15 acres, according to Captain Tom Richards with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Richards said department crews, helped by firefighters from the Angeles National Forest and the city of Los Angeles, were able to contain the fire and knock it down by 2:56 p.m. Saturday, about an hour and a half after the blaze was first reported.

“It was a great joint effort,” he said.

Firefighters were able to get a handle on the blaze, which burned on The Old Road near the freeway interchange of Highway 14 and Interstate 5, despite steady winds that whipped through the Santa Clarita Valley on Saturday.

The fire burned in three primary spots, two on one side of The Old Road and one on the opposite side, and totaled an estimated 15 acres, he said.

“There were three spots that we worked at the same time,” Richards said.

As of 3:45 p.m., Richards said crews were still on scene doing mop-up work. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported as a result of the fire, Richards said.

But while the fire was contained, traffic problems lingered into the mid-afternoon.

The blaze temporarily shut down two I-5 northbound lanes, as well as the truck transition road between the I-5 and Highway 14.

The Old Road was completely closed in the area, as was Sierra Highway near the freeway interchange.

Traffic was also turned around on Sierra Highway near Newhall Avenue. Drivers that were unable to take their planned route down Sierra Highway instead diverted through Newhall, choking Newhall Avenue with traffic through the intersection with Railroad Avenue.

The fire broke out about 1:20 p.m. near The Old Road in the pass where the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 freeways split, according to reports.

High winds also downed power lines on Placerita Canyon Road Saturday afternoon, according to Lt. John Rush with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Damaging winds were also blamed for two similar incidents Friday, one in Newhall and one in Canyon Country, according to Deputy Josh Dubin.

Strong winds also appeared to topple a large tree alongside Newhall Ranch Road near Dickason Drive Saturday morning, according to Signal reader John Douglas.

There was no damage to surrounding property or vehicles as a result of that, but the tree was uprooted and fell across several lanes of traffic, according to Douglas.

A red flag warning is in effect for the Santa Clarita Valley until 6 p.m. today, with strong winds and dry conditions expected to last until then.


On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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